La Jolla Country Day School awarded the 2021 BAK’D Apple Award to Jonathan Shulman, director of the Center for Excellence in Citizenship and Upper School history educator.
The Rubenson family established the BAK’D Apple Award in 1997 to honor a faculty or staff member who makes special contributions to students’ total personal growth and extends themself on a personal level to be a friend and mentor to students.
Mr. Shulman’s footprints span across campus from the Early Childhood Center to the Upper School. Whether he’s forging a partnership with the San Diego Diplomacy Council, engaging students as speakers for the Voice of San Diego’s Politifest, or planning the schoolwide Citizenship Day, Mr. Shulman is known for seeking opportunities to connect LJCDS to the world and the world to LJCDS.
For more than 15 years, his infectious enthusiasm and passion for history and government have inspired and empowered countless LJCDS students to engage in the vital work of local, national and global citizenship.
“When I was starting out as a teacher at Country Day, I had the privilege of observing a class that Jonathan taught,” recalls Dan Norland, Upper School history and social science educator. “As class was winding down, the student sitting next to me turned to me and said, ‘My brain is overflowing right now.’ In the decade since, I’ve seen countless ways in which Jonathan fills his students’ and colleagues’ minds to the brim, and then—with his unique mix of enthusiasm, panache and wide-eyed wonder at the world—helps expand them just a bit further.”
Mr. Shulman is also the head teacher-coach of the award-winning Torrey Mock Trial and co-chair of the Torrey Model United Nations teams—two programs often credited for their transformational impact on students.
“Being a member of Torrey Model United Nations taught me how to be a better global citizen and also really lent a hand to me being interested in the political field. Mr. Shulman taught me how one of the best things we can do as global citizens is to be educated,” says Lauren Ziment ’20.
With an unrelenting work ethic and an unwavering commitment to furthering the mission of the school, no role or task is too small or too big for Mr. Shulman. “He is always one of the first to volunteer to cover a class, fill in at morning health screening, welcome guests at Blue Bash, or do whatever else is needed to help a colleague,” shares Upper School Head Tom Trocano. “Simply put, he is omnipresent in the life of the school.”
BAK’D is a combination of the first letters of each member of the Rubenson family’s name (Ben ’95, Aaron ’92, Kathie and David), and “apple” refers to the apple orchard at their home in Julian, where they have invited faculty to join them to harvest apples over the years. The Rubenson family has generously funded this award for 24 years.